Principles of Life

Two friends, Ahmed and Iqbal, both lived in the same city. Ahmed was a graduate, while Iqbal’s education had not gone beyond the eighth standard. It happened once that Iqbal had to go to an office on business and was accompanied by his friend, Ahmed. When the business had been transacted, and they were both coming out of the office, Ahmed said to Iqbal, “You were speaking such horrible English! With such bad English, I would never have dared to open my mouth!” Iqbal was not the slightest bit disconcerted at being so roundly criticized.

“Success is a matter of cool decisions, without constant wavering and changing of the mind, acute observation, initiative, and unremitting attention to a vast number of petty details.”

The above statement would appear to be a sure-fire recipe for material success in a very large number of situations.

The Mughal prince, Aurangzeb, came into conflict with his father, Shahjahan, over certain political matters. He, therefore, dethroned Shahjahan and imprisoned him in the fort at Agra in 1658, where he was kept in close confinement and deprived of even the common necessities of life. He could only while away his time by contemplating the Taj Mahal from the fort and reciting poems.

“An Advanced History of India,” compiled by Dr. R.C. Majumdar, Dr. H.C. Raychaudhuri and Dr. Kalinkar Dutta describes the final days of Shahjahan in these words:

A man came before the Prophet Muhammad and asked him for some advice. “Will you heed the advice?” the Prophet asked him. The man said that he would. The Prophet said to him: “When you decide on some action, think of its consequences. If they are good, go ahead with it: and if they are bad, refrain from it.”

While we give careful consideration to what we say to or about our superiors or those who please us, we do not stop to think of what we say to or about our inferiors of those who displease us.

The Prophet has been recorded as saying: “A man sometimes says something to which he has not given due consideration and, because of this, he falls into the Fire — a distance further than that between east and west.”

For about twenty years, between 1950 and 1970, Japan used to import superior industrial technology from the west, at times by outright purchase, but more often by borrowing, or on a credit basis. As a result, Japan today stands on its own feet economically and is in a position to export not only its goods but also its know-how to other countries.

A man was riding his bicycle one day when all of a sudden his brake jammed. Luckily there was a cycle repair-shop nearby, so he took his bike there to have it fixed. Thinking that the mechanic would fix the brake at the point where it was jammed, the cyclist was surprised to see him tap away with a small hammer at a completely different place. Before he was able to express his surprise, however, the mechanic handed the bike over. “That’s fixed it. You can take it away now,” he said. And off the cyclist rode, with his bike once again running smoothly.

When Napoleon Buonaparte (1769-1821) escaped from the Island of Elba after his first term of imprisonment, he was accompanied only by a small group of loyal soldiers. Once dethroned, he now again aspired to the throne of France. But in the very first encounter, he found himself face to face with 20,000 French soldiers.

There was once a man who stubbornly refused to believe that it is God who provides for and nourishes his creatures. His friends did their best to make him understand this, but with no success. Finally, he decided to silence them by putting this notion to the test. Leaving his home early one morning, he went off to a jungle where he perched himself up in a tree. “If it is God who nourishes His servants, He will send me my food here too,” he thought.